The Fenomenal Funds shared governance model brings together private foundations and women’s funds in the Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds (INWF) to share power in decision-making at the level of strategy and grantmaking. The current structure includes:
A Steering Committee that is responsible for strategy and oversight. The Steering Committee is made up of nine members, including four women’s funds elected by members of the Prospera INWF. The women’s funds represent the diversity of the network by size (defined by annual budget, staff size, and number of partners); scope and scales (national, regional, sub-regional and multi-regional). They also include a Prospera Board member. The Steering Committee also includes one representative from each of the collaborative’s funders (Foundation for a Just Society, Open Societies Foundation, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), selected by their philanthropic institution. The Prospera Secretariat serves as a non-voting member of the Steering Committee.
An Advisory Committee that guides our participatory grantmaking on our first two key goals. The Advisory Committee is composed of five women’s funds representatives, two private foundation representatives, and the Prospera Secretariat as a non-voting member. The women’s funds represent each of Prospera’s five geographic clusters: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Multi-Regional. As a secondary criterion, women’s funds representatives come from women’s funds of different sizes and scales. A second Advisory Council on the last two key goals is planned.
Mechanisms for ad hoc consultation of relevant stakeholders (such as technical experts and relevant communications or evaluation staff), as needed.
The shared governance body is entrusted with the responsibility for overseeing the collaborative’s assets and being accountable for more robust decision-making and better outcomes. Under this model decisions are made jointly by private foundations and women’s funds representatives. This represents a shift in the locus of power from being centered on the perspectives and priorities of private philanthropy to being jointly held by private foundations and women’s funds. Shared power means that the decisions made are informed by the experience, knowledge, and perspective of women’s funds and responsive to the context, needs, and realities of women’s funds. The value of the shared governance model is that recipients of the funding decisions (in this case the women’s funds) as well as those donating (private foundations) share power in deciding both the strategy and the distribution of funding.
The work of Fenomenal Funds is facilitated by a Director, Program Manager, Feminist Learning and Evaluation Manager, and a Communications and Engagement Coordinator. Fenomenal Funds is fiscally sponsored by New Venture Fund, which provides back office support in HR, finance, and legal services.